Over the last few months I have been updating the blog to address issues of self-improvement and development. During this process I have received great feedback and personal stories from my followers. Thank you all for helping Radiant Sunshine; as we continue to improve we will be adding different contributors. Our first contributor is an anonymous female living with mental illness. Join me in welcoming this contributor as she shares her story….
My Secret Life Exposed: Getting the Help I Needed
Mental illness is a huge stigma I wasn’t ready to deal with, but conquered with an open mind and clear understanding of who I had become over the last twenty-two years. I was diagnosed with Depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I believe being diagnosed with this illness was a wake-up call, because I never thought something like this would happen to me. Mental illness was something I knew existed in my family, but I never thought I would have one. Or, I guess you can say I was in denial about it. No one ever tells you that going through a loss, or life changing event, could cause something like to happen to you.
Over the last couple of months things really started to take its toll on me; I became more and more withdrawn from my family and friends. I was dealing with the fact that I wasn’t returning to my job and that yet another operation really made me feel like I had lost everything. It wasn’t until I got a visit from a family member that I knew I needed some serious help. We had been talking for a while and I couldn’t tell you half of what we talked about. It was like I was somewhere else and that someone had taken over my body. She must have noticed and that is when she asked if I wanted to talk with someone. At first, I was very hesitant about talking with anyone; I had spoken with other therapists in the past and didn’t find them helpful.
Being that she had a background in social services, she researched and called a place she heard of called Princeton House Behavioral Health. With her by my side, I spoke with an intake person who asked a lot of questions about me that I never paid attention to and after an hour or so, my appointment was set.
Of course, as the days got closer, I became nervous and skeptical like with any doctor visits. My first visit to Princeton House in Hamilton was with a secretary, a case manager, a nurse and a lady who would change my views completely. I had to give a brief overview of what I discussed on the phone and complete paperwork before being told I would have to come three days per week for three hours. I really thought that she was joking. I thought who talks for that long and what did I have to do to get out of this?
Once I started the program my views began to change; I was enrolled in their Women’s Trauma program. This program was designed to help women who have suffered some sort of trauma or abuse. These experiences included long-term mental issues, sexual, physical or verbal abuse as well as rape and domestic violence. At Princeton House, they encourage women to understand their relationships with their symptoms, provide coping strategies and program goals to help them.
Over the next eight weeks I began to understand what, when and why I was depressed. I was given skills that I thought were never going to work, however as I began to apply them to my life things, begun to change. I learned to use my wise mind and distress tolerance skills to help me when I felt overwhelmed or depressed. I began to feel better about myself and I understood that I wasn’t alone in my fight to get over my illness. I’ve learned that my vulnerabilities are something that I can live with and that I now have the skills to deal with them. I am not ashamed of my depression, nor do I feel guilty about the choices I have made in my life when it comes to my health. Each day, I met very strong women who were just like me and if you met us on the street, you would never know that we all had some sort of trauma or abuse issues in our lives.
I was able to speak about how I was feeling with an individual therapist, as well as group discussions on how to attack my depression and PTSD with strength, encouragement and knowledge from a skills program on safety for women with trauma. Although I am a work in progress and will continue individual treatment; my individual therapist as Princeton House was the lady who changed my thought process of what therapy was truly about. I think she understood because the skills they taught us, she was also using within her life. I can’t say enough about this program. I enjoyed my time there and I would recommend this program to any woman who needs help dealing with a trauma.
For more information on Princeton House